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Popular app leads to death of Florida man

Popular app leads to death of Florida man
photo courtesy of SHUTTERSTOCK

It's yet another horrible reminder that we all need to be careful before getting together with anyone we meet online - for any reason. One man was brutally murdered after meeting up with a woman he met on the online dating site, PlentyOfFish.

Adam Hilarie, a 27-year-old from Florida, met 18-year-old Hailey Bustos on the online dating site. The pair went out on a typical date that involved bowling, then back to Hilarie's house. Everything seemed ordinary.

Bustos texted Hilarie later that night, said she had a good time and wanted to meet up with him again. He obliged, but it turned out to be the biggest mistake of his life.

The next night, she came to meet him at his house, only this time she brought three men with her to rob Hilarie of his TV, an Xbox and an iPhone.

According to police reports, Hilarie, the father of a five-year-old girl, begged for his life and didn't put up a fight, so police officials aren't sure how the robbery escalated. For Hilarie, it ended with a gunshot wound to the head.

Police believe the robbery was premeditated and have arrested four individuals, including Bustos, who was also arrested earlier in the week on a separate robbery charge. She also said she earned $50 from the three other men for arranging the robbery. Bustos, however, claims she didn't know the men were going to murder Hilarie.

To make matters worse, according to Bustos' police report, the three men - Andre Warner, 26; Gary Gray, 31; and Joshua Ellington, 26 - got in an argument after the murder, smashed the stolen TV and threw away the iPhone. They have since been arrested on charges of first-degree murder, robbery with a firearm, and conspiracy to commit robbery.

Ways to stay safe

If you're online dating, there are steps you'll want to take to keep yourself protected from these types of threats:

  • Always meet somewhere in public, never meet in a secluded place or invite strangers into your home.
  • Tell a friend or family member where you are going and what you are doing. You can also enable location sharing.
  • Don't forget to take your phone in case of an emergency.
  • Put these safety apps on your phone. They might save your life.
  • Trust your instincts. If something smells fishy, it probably is.
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